Kings of the Castle

Well I am sure everyone is wondering what lame excuse the Captain will come up with this time for being so tardy in getting a new blog posted. Wonder no more cause here it is. Ever since returning from Tucson after Christmas the internet signal here in the LTVA has been dismal at best. Sure its fine between 6 and 7 in the morning and after 10 at night but any other time of the day it is sloth-like to nonexistent. Additionally, CC has been testing out 3 different laptops for the job and has finally decided on a Dell 13.3 inch 2 in 1 model. So no more excuses, here is the latest and greatest from the sunny south.

With the exception of about 10 days around Christmas the weather has been 10 degrees (F) above normal (today 85) with below average winds so no complaints on the weather front given the cold and snow the folks at home have been getting. Finding some shade to relax in is sometimes the toughest part of the day. Ha Ha.

sunrise and

sunset

a rare rainbow

and rarer eclipse of the moon

Another unusual happening here is the level of the reservoir. For the past few weeks the water level has been the lowest we can remember ever seeing. It is so low, it is below the outtake pump level. No one seems to know for sure why but it could be related to work being done on the dam power plant.

The second half of the Desert Domino Challenge has surprisingly seen the girls jump out to a 5 – 2 lead. To avoid a collapse and more losses before the end of the 2nd half the girls have suggested they may simply not play any more games to ensure victory. The old “quit while your ahead strategy” while effective, is hardly sportsmanlike and any defaulting would result in the boys being handed the Cup.

Ellie joins the Girls Team

GG and EE take a break from the game to play on the couch

Miss EE has had a challenging month with another visit to the groomer for a real close shave. She has also become a full time walker on our Sunday morning lake hikes and has successfully managed the full route 5 weeks in a row.

EE’s new doo

and scarecrow ears

Happy New Years

Our first event of the New Year was a hike up Telegraph Pass Mountain at 7:30 am on January 1st. We were joined this year for the 2.5 mile hike up the mountain by our friends from Campbell River Pat and Bill Koss. EE beat GGs first attempt record by make the complete assent unaided. Of course GG was only 2 months old at the time and EE was 8 months but hey they were still both in the under 1 Year Old category. Just joking GG.

EE and the Captain with different modes of prep for the hike

starting the climb

time for a short break – Pat, Bill, BBB, LLL and GG

at the summit

GG too tired to stand on her own, not EE

views from the top

The Captain started the New Year by extending the distance of his weekly around the lake runs by 1, 2 and then 3 miles and has gasped his way to 3 – 8 milers, 1 – 9 miler and finally a 10 miler. It has been about 40 years since the Captain was crazy enough to attempt this kind of stuff and one never knows if the insanity will last??

Weekly Hikes

DD and CC continue to alternate in partaking of the weekly group hikes with the exception of our last hike (February 1st) when EE was deemed fit enough to join us. On 1 of the hikes, the Captain of course, forgot the camera therefore I can provide no photographic verification of this outing. On all of our hikes in January over 25 stalwarts were somehow convinced to go along despite the unorthodox leadership of Slippery Steve aka Steverino. The hikes were as follows:

Fish Camp

DD represented the Cowells on this hike (5 miles return) which runs across a few ridges to an alleged fish camp on the shores of the Colorado River.

DD looking for her shadowy friends

and found a few

on the trail out

the Lost Canuck at the Fish Camp

heading home

Rebecca poses for her hike verification photo

the old face in the rocks rock

Little Grand Canyon

This 6 mile hike was the one for which the Captain forgot the camera. It probably made no difference however as the group foolishly followed the Captain off in the wrong direction and we never did find the little Grand Canyon.

Painted Desert

CC was on this hike just outside of Martinez Lake, an hour’s drive from the LTVA.  Although CC did remember to bring the camera, remembering to use it is another matter. By the time CC remembered it was his job to take pictures, the 4.5 mile was just about over. I did get some nice pictures of a few rocks though, so there.

the Captains art deco rocks collection

LLL is just enthralled with the hike as you can clearly see

a small arch at the end of the hike

Dated Rock

Finally CC, DD and EE set out as a family for the Dated Rock hike. By now the weather was getting notably hotter and by the time the hike ended at noon everyone was glad to see the end of it. Unfortunately for this hike neither of our two esteemed leaders (Steverino and Lost Canuck) were in attendance so leadership was co-opted by the Captain and his sidekick Billy Goat. Despite losing one hiker and getting just a bit off track we jointly declared the hike a success. Even EE managed the trek with only a few lifts across washes.

EE definitely not the lead dog on this hike

aw look the whole family at the dated rock

Backcountry Bikes

Steverino and the Captain continued their Tuesday morning bicycle assaults on the backcountry however this month the backcountry seemed to win. We did have several really good rides but on 3 occasions flat tires cut them short. And of course, the flat tires were on CC’s bike. CC insists on riding on crappy old tires but has finally pried open the wallet and splurged on some new rubber.

One of CC’s flats came at a fairly remote location after we had ridden about 14 miles to a communications tower high above the LTVA. Steverino went ahead for help and CC slogged along for 5 miles with bike in tow until help in the form of DD in the truck arrived to save the day.

Dog Burn

As Slobber Jaws didn’t make it south this winter there is no Official LTVA Dog Burn. Our Missouri friends Dirty Dog Dave and Jezebel Jeannine took it upon themselves to rectify this and put on their own Dog Burn for our “neighborhood”. In all about 40 locals showed up to enjoy their hospitality and enjoy the get together. Despite JJ’s assurances that no real dogs would be sacrificed to the god Canine we felt it best to leave EE at home for this “ceremony”.

JJ had no idea who half of these people were

JJ (left) preparing the dogs for the fire while LLL, BBB, RRR, AA and the Captain leave her to it

Amorous Arlette and Roland the Rockin Raconteur

Really girls

Kings of the Castle Dome Climb

Now to the piece de resistance! The now, world renowned, Former Feckless Five (CC, Lucky Lonesome Larry, Billy Goat, Jake the Snake and Steverino) in search of a worthy challenge, got together and plotted to conquer the majestic but imposing Castle Dome. This would be a new adventure for Billy Goat and Jake the Snake, who would undoubtedly rely on the experience and bravery of the former conquerers of the Dome to ensure their safety and success.

The FFF headed out before daylight for the hour plus drive to the trailhead. Forty five minutes later the FFF left the wash and began tackling the 1600 foot ascent. In surely what will be recorded as a herculean effort the FFF in an astonishing short (105 minutes not including rest stops) time perched upon the summit. The total hike one way is 3 miles with a vertical from the trailhead of just over 2000 feet. The more dangerous climb, down because of the loose scree, was accomplished in the same time as the hike in. Fortunately, the winds were light and it wasn’t overly hot which made the trek all that more enjoyable. We all enjoyed the fantastic views from the summit.

the distant Dome

heading up out of the wash

looking back away from the Dome trail

Steverino and LLL share a Kodak moment

Billy Goat leading the charge

getting higher

and a little bit closer

and steeper

Steverino still seems fresh at the halfway point

but wait til he meets this skree field

looking out from the base of the thumb

start of the final few hundred feet above the thumb

looking back and down at the thumb

and still going up

to the summit

Steverino sitting on top of the world (sort of)

Jake phones wife Vicky and waves like she really can see him, not a chance Jake

looking down at an active gold mine (center of picture)

one hell of a view

heading back down to the thumb

imperative to step carefully here boys

All in all the FFF were thrilled with their accomplishment and are now looking for further challenges before things get too hot.

The End is Near

For this year anyway. In less than 3 weeks (February 21st) we will be packing up and heading east to Tucson to visit DDs sister Jeenen and hubby Pat for a week before once again heading north to the GWN.

By stubbs99

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